Falling Sky

10/28/10

For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Horns of Ruin (full cover spread)

Cover Illustration © Benjamin Carré
Design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht
Coming in November!
 
 
Tim Akers is an original, enthralling voice in the steampunk subgenre.” The Book Smugglers
 
Eva Forge is the last paladin of a dead god. 
 
Morgan, god of battle and champion of the Fraterdom, was assassinated by his jealous brother, Amon. Over time, the Cult of Morgan has been surpassed by other gods, his blessings ignored in favor of brighter technologies and more mechanical miracles. Eva was the last child dedicated to the Cult of Morgan, forsaken by her parents and forgotten by her family. Now she watches as her new family, her Cult, crumbles all around her.

When a series of kidnappings and murders makes it clear that someone is trying to hasten the death of the Cult of Morgan, Eva must seek out unexpected allies and unwelcome answers in the city of Ash. But will she be able to save the city from a growing conspiracy, one that reaches back to her childhood, even back to the murder of her god?

10/27/10

Tracato: one of the best new fantasy novels I’ve read all year.

Joel Shepherd's Tracato, the third book in his A Trial of Blood & Steel series, shouldn't be hitting shelves any day now. And just in time for its release, Stefan of Fantasy Literature has proclaimed it, "one of the best new fantasy novels I’ve read all year."

He writes:
"With the third book in a series of such complexity, it becomes hard to include many plot details without also including spoilers, so this is intentionally vague: you’ll find romance, conflict and betrayal ratcheted up to entirely new levels. Characters’ morality and loyalty comes in so many shades of grey that black and white may seem a faint memory by the time you’re done. There are some edge-of-your-seat scenes describing warfare that are, in a word, simply awesome — especially those including the serrin light cavalry. There are a few scenes that are extremely dark, but also some that may have you cheering out loud for the characters. In a nutshell, it’s hard to imagine that readers who have been following the story so far in Sasha and Petrodor will be anything less than satisfied with Tracato — not to say chomping at the bit to get the fourth and final book in the series, Haven ... Tracato is simply one of the best fantasy novels of the year. Highly recommended."

Do You Dream In Colour?

Scientists say it will soon be possible to record your dreams. No news yet on incepting them.

Slightly disturbed at the possibility of archiving some of the things that pass through my head in the wee hours.

The Greyfriar is "Phenomenal"

"I was blindsided by how phenomenal THE GREYFRIAR was from start to finish. Amazing vampire mythology, a chilling alternate history, and a poignant romance that grips your whole heart and refuses to let go. ...The action is exhilarating, the vampires are refreshingly sinister, and the love story a gentle force so captivating that I truly believe it will weather even the most daunting obstacles.  Book two in the Vampire Empire can’t come soon enough." All Things Urban Fantasy

Observations at Book Signings

(from my personal blog at (http://jonsprunk.blogspot.com/)

I love people watching. Give me a comfortable seat on the edge of a big crowd, and I can watch them for hours, which is pretty much what a book signing feels like for those of us who aren’t household names (yet).

However, whether you sell a thousand copies or three, a book signing is an excellent opportunity for us reclusive-writer types to observe the book-buying (and, presumably, book-reading) public up close.

For example, most people in a book store, when greeted by a friendly hello, will respond in kind as they stroll past your table. A special few will stop and ask you what your book is about. Yet, it’s the alarmingly-high percentage of folks who blithely pass by, not even looking in your direction, that makes me raise an eyebrow. Where are they going in such a hurry? Nine times out of ten it’s the coffee bar, which just goes to prove you can’t compete with caffeine.

But when someone does stop, the pressure is on. Your hands sweat, your voice quavers, and sometimes you even forget what your book is about. (When this happens, I usually say, “It’s like Harry Potter combined with Twilight and The Stand. Only cooler.”)

I have to give a shout out to all the ladies in the house. Women are much more likely to stop and chat, and they buy a copy two or three times more often than the guys. Slackers! What happened to manly men who read novels while chopping firewood and saving babies from burning buildings? Meh, I guess those days are gone. Now, it seems like many men only read the Sports section of the newspaper and an occasional biography (ghost) written by some washed-up athlete.

Still even with the fly-bys and the blank stares, I have to say that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed every minute of each book event I’ve done. There’s something thrilling in introducing yourself, and your work, to new people. So here’s to everyone I’ve met out on the road. Thank you. You make a lonely profession all the more worth it.

10/25/10

A Trio of Reviews

The Library Journal reviews two forthcoming Pyr books favorably. First up is James Enge's The Wolf Age: "“The third novel in Enge’s series detailing the events in the life of Morlock Ambrosius (Blood of Ambrose; This Crooked Way) offers an unusual portrait of werewolves with their own distinct language and culture, as well as superb storytelling… Series fans and readers who enjoy epic fantasy will look forward to this title.”



Next up is The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book One) by Clay and Susan Griffith. The verdict? “Blending vampire fiction with steampunk and romance, this trilogy launch by the married authors possesses a seductive charm and tells a rousing tale of adventure…. A change of pace from standard vampire fiction, this should find a sizable readership among fans of fantasy romance as well as the vampire and steampunk genres.”

Then The Montreal Gazette reviews Mark Hodder's The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack. There are a few spoilers in the review, but it concludes: “Alternate history, time travel, detective fiction and steampunk (2010's genre du jour) collide with effervescent results. ...When the full revelations come -which they do halfway through the novel, in Chapter 13 -they are sublimely strange, propelling the already exciting thriller to a superlative level of mind-warping oddness. The influence of Arthur Conan Doyle, Michael Moorcock and Kim Newman is unmistakable, but the resulting brew is fresh and potent.”

10/22/10

For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Buntline Special (Full Cover Spread)

The Buntline Special © Mike Resnick
Cover Illustration © J. Seamus Gallagher
Design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht
Coming in December!


"Brilliant. Scary, funny, often very moving. Left me wishing I could have shared a couple of whiskeys with Wyatt and Doc." --Jack McDevitt, Nebula Award-winning author of Echo

The year is 1881. The United States of America ends at the Mississippi River. Beyond lies the Indian nations, where the magic of powerful Medicine Men has halted the advance of the Americans east of the river.

An American government desperate to expand its territory sends Thomas Alva Edison out West to the town of Tombstone, Arizona, on a mission to discover a scientific means of counteracting magic. Hired to protect this great genius, Wyatt Earp and his brothers.

But there are plenty who would like to see the Earps and Edison dead. Riding to their aid are old friends Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. Against them stand the Apache wizard Geronimo and the Clanton gang. Battle lines are drawn, and the Clanton gang, which has its own reasons for wanting Edison dead, sends for Johnny Ringo, the one man who might be Doc Holliday's equal in a gunfight. But what shows up instead is The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo, returned from the dead and come to Tombstone looking for a fight.

Welcome to a West like you've never seen before, where "Bat Masterson" hails from the ranks of the undead, where electric lights shine down on the streets of Tombstone, while horseless stagecoaches carry passengers to and fro, and where death is no obstacle to The Thing That Was Once Johnny Ringo. Think you know the story of the O.K. Corral? Think again, as five-time Hugo winner Mike Resnick takes on his first steampunk western tale, and the West will never be the same.

10/21/10

Spring Heeled Jack: a high-spirited mix of fact and fancy

No less a source that The Washington Post says of Mark Hodder's The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, that "if you're looking for a cold night's entertainment, this high-spirited mix of fact and fancy will do quite nicely, quite nicely indeed."

Meanwhile, The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack is just one of four Pyr books you can win in a contest hosted by Tor.com, and you can read an excerpt from the book on Tor right now.

Take a Bite Out of This!

Clay and Susan Griffith, author of the forthcoming The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire Book One), guest blog on Bite Club today with a piece about the original Dracula.

Meanwhile, sister site VampChix says that The Greyfriar is "is the best book I've read this year.  (I had probably in that last sentence, then took it out.  No doubts, it is the best.)... The story opens quickly, and jumps right into the action.  Some historical reads tend to fill pages with detail and history of cities and societies, but not this one.  The Griffiths seamlessly weave in the details, while not once pausing to slow down the pace.  It makes this book a page turner.  If you're looking for an interesting setting, with gorgeous detail, great dialogue and is all-around satisfying, pick this one up.  Romance fans will not be disappointed by the well-crafted relationship that grows into a devastatingly delicious pairing. "

And The Greyfriar is just one of four Pyr books you can win in a contest hosted by Tor.com! Sink your teeth into that!

10/13/10

The Ragged Man: Highly Recommended Epic Storytelling

Art by Todd Lockwood
Look at what they are saying:

“In The Ragged Man, the fourth book of his Twilight Reign series, Lloyd draws the reader even further into the lives (and deaths) of his large and unforgettable cast of players.  To open this book is to fall into it, and reaching the end doesn’t automatically mean you’re done.  From the tortured plains of the afterworld, to the spectacle of magic, to the creation and destruction of gods, Lloyd crafts an impressive tapestry of characters, motivations, actions, and purpose that will have you turning pages non-stop.  If you’re looking for something to sink your teeth into, I highly recommend this book and the entire series.” -Sacramento Book Review, San Francisco Book Review

“It is the type of epic fantasy that a large cast of interesting characters and extremely fast paced that keeps the reader interested. The world building is original, especially in regards to the way the gods are handled and other beings like the 'white-eye' or others. Also, the book includes a character list and a brief overview of the previous books for those new to the series.  I am desperate to get the final book in the series when it is released to find out how it all ends.  This is a nice addition to anyone who loves epic fantasies where the gods are not perfect and absolute and the humans are just as fascinating as the gods. I give this one a keeper status of 5 stars!” -Night Owl Reviews

“If you thought that Book Three was pretty good then you’re just going to love the fourth offering. You get characters that continue to grow and having to fill shoes that were left empty after the last installment which makes this something that really will grip the readers imagination…Within this title you get everything that makes Tom a name but also a maturing writing style as the series carries wending its bloody way through your mind. It’s well written, the characters gripping but above all else it’s the twists as well as politicking that make this a title to savour.” -Falcata Times

“Intangibly epic. …Lloyd’s choices are all logical and satisfying. They’re just not what you expect…. This book deserves its acclaim. It deserves its awards. It has my attention. Fans are going to love it. There’re certainly no letdowns here. Not a one. You will gasp in awe at many of his plot choices…  It’s something I would have written if I were skilled enough to be writing this. Yes. Expect more of the same from Mister Lloyd, and to be honest that’s the finest compliment I could pay him – in that he’s always reliably stunning.” -Lateral Books,

“There still is a lot of story left to tell about The Twilight Reign. The stage is set for a major battle of the gods. While I expect the final volume of the series, The Dusk Watchman, to be very ambitious — it must be, to bring the series to a satisfying resolution — The Ragged Man assures me that Lloyd will be able to pull it off. I wait with anticipation for the final volume of this engaging theomachy.” -Ray Gun Reviews

“Through all the violence and despair that dominate the series, there is also hope here, with Lloyd fashioning some truly touching moments that humanise his characters no matter how imbued they are with godliness, magic or immortality” -Total Sci-Fi Online

For Your Viewing Pleasure: Elfsorrow (full cover spread)

Elfsorrow © James Barclay
Cover Illustration © Raymond Swanland
Design by Nicole Sommer-Lecht
Coming in November!


“…this novel is easily Barclay's best....To have real fun, you have to face real danger. Barclay fills both sides of the bargain perfectly.” The Agony Column

“Intrigue, action, excitement, humor – these novels have these things in heaps. Elfsorrow too, like the previous Raven novels, is unapologetically violent. I had lost track of the body count by page ten! It is also chock full of wonderful fantasy creations…. If you like your fantasy fast paced, tough and punchy, go and discover The Raven. You won't be disappointed.” SFRevu

The Raven travel to a new continent in search of mages to help the ruined college of Julatsa rebuild . . . and find themselves in the midst of an ancient curse - a curse that has unleashed a plague that threatens to wipe out the elven race. Barclay excels with another tale that pitches The Raven against the clock and unseen foes. Full of desperate fights and secret betrayals the story also fills in more of Balaia's history and delves deeper into the ancient enmities between the colleges. Barclay has created a wonderfully appealing group of heroes and with every book their history grows and the land they live in becomes wider and richer. This is landmark fantasy in the making.

10/11/10

James Enge: Sword and Sorcery's Next Big Thing

Art by Dominic Harman
Paul Jessup has interviewed James Enge (Blood of Ambrose, This Crooked Way, The Wolf Age) on his blog today, in a piece entitled "Sword and Sorcery's Next Big Thing." The entire interview is well worth your time, but here's a taste.

"One of the reasons to write or read fantasy is that it gives you the opportunity to think about what’s real by considering the unreal. Traveling through the uncanny valley with things that look like people but, rather creepily, are not is one way to stir up those thoughts… or at least feelings that might provoke thought. I try not to write with a Message (VOTE FOR BEEBLEBROX! HE’S JUST THIS GUY, YOU KNOW?) but any story that matters enough to people to get them to feel something will also provoke thought. Some sort of beast will be taunted out of its cave, or so we hope."

10/8/10

For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Greyfriar: Vampire Empire Book One (full cover spread)

Trade Paperback November 2010
Cover Illustration © Chris McGrath
Design by Grace M. Conti-Zilsberger





"Great writing, intriguing antagonists and one scrappy heroine make this a worthy addition to the steampunk genre. ... Princess Adele makes a great role model for tween and teen girls – not to mention some adults – and the Greyfriar is everything a steampunk hero should be." RT Book Reviews

In the year 1870, a horrible plague of vampires swept over the northern regions of the world. Millions of humans were killed outright. Millions more died of disease and famine due to the havoc that followed. Within two years, once-great cities were shrouded by the grey empire of the vampire clans. Human refugees fled south to the tropics because vampires could not tolerate the constant heat there. They brought technology and a feverish drive to reestablish their shattered societies of steam and iron amid the mosques of Alexandria, the torrid quietude of Panama, or the green temples of Malaya.

It is now 2020 and a bloody reckoning is coming.

Princess Adele is heir to the Empire Equatoria, a remnant of the old tropical British Empire. She is quick with her wit as well as with a sword or gun. She is eager for an adventure before she settles into a life of duty and political marriage to a man she does not know. But her quest turns black when she becomes the target of a merciless vampire clan. Her only protector is the Greyfriar, a mysterious hero who fights the vampires from deep within their territory. Their dangerous relationship plays out against an approaching war to the death between humankind and the vampire clans.

The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire, Book One) is the first book in a trilogy of high adventure and alternate history. Combining rousing pulp action with steampunk style, the Vampire Empire series brings epic political themes to life within a story of heartbreaking romance, sacrifice, and heroism.

The Wolf Age: what Tolkien might have written had he lived in this postmodern age.

Art by Dominic Harman
John Ottinger III has posted a review of James Enge's The Wolf Age over at Grasping for the Wind. His thoughts below (pay particularly attention to that last bit):
"Ultimately, Enge continues to tread new ground. The Wolf Age is a novel-length sword and sorcery that integrates both ghost-driven airships, a democratic society with a bloody electoral process, and werewolves all into a beautiful yet oddly twisted civilization. The Wolf Age is mythic in its tone and content, yet modern in its theme, and bound up with action-adventure. It’s a masterpiece of storytelling; it’s what Tolkien might have written had he lived in this postmodern age."

10/7/10

For Your Viewing Pleasure: The Wolf Age (full cover spread)

The Wolf Age by James Enge
Trade Paperback October 2010
Cover Illustration © Dominic Harman
Design by Jacqueline Cooke
(click to enlarge)

"James Enge's books are like a strange alloy of Raymond Chandler, Fritz Leiber, Larry Niven and some precious metal that is all Enge's own. They're thrilling, funny, and mysteriously moving. I see ten things on every page I wish I’d written. I could read him forever and never get bored." Lev Grossman, New York Times bestselling author of The Magicians

Wuruyaaria: city of werewolves, whose raiders range over the dying northlands, capturing human beings for slaves or meat. Wuruyaaria: where a lone immortal maker wages a secret war against the Strange Gods of the Coranians. Wuruyaaria: a democracy where some are more equal than others, and a faction of outcast werewolves is determined to change the balance of power in a long, bloody election year.

Their plans are laid; the challenges known; the risks accepted. But all schemes will shatter in the clash between two threats few had foreseen and none had fully understood: a monster from the north on a mission to poison the world, and a stranger from the south named Morlock Ambrosius.

10/6/10

Mark Hodder on Steampunk @ The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf & Book Review

Illustration by Jon Sullivan
Mark Hodder, author of The Strange Affair of Spring Heeled Jack, has a great piece on the appeal of Steampunk up today at The Mad Hatter's Bookshelf & Book Review.

Here's a taste: "The iconic machinery of that age was—and still is—a symbol of strength, hope and ambition. It was powering the Victorians into a bright future. For the educated classes, it promised the spread—and thus an affirmation—of their cultural values (of “civilisation”). For the working classes, it hinted at a possible future release from the backbreaking drudgery of labour—for surely machines would do all the ugly, horrible, uninteresting jobs?—freeing up time for something (anything!) else."

10/5/10

Podcasts and Blog Interviews: Sykes and Enge

Sam Sykes, author of Tome of the Undergates, defends the honor of Canadians, the French, fantasy trilogies, and combat-heavy books on the latest SF Signal Podcast, even if he does take another shot at Brent Weeks. The story Sykes tells about Yours Truly in the shows closing minutes should be viewed only as hearsay. But the rest of the podcast is well worth checking out.

Meanwhile, James Enge (The Wolf Age) is a guest on the latest episode of The Functional Nerds today. I'll be checking it out myself shortly, but they say they discuss "Latin, Morlock, sword & socrcery, Blood of Ambrose, This Crooked Way, Merlin, publishing, Popular Science, Norse mythology, Mickey Zucker Reinhurt, Jack Vance, Frtiz Leiber, Roman & Greek mythology, Thor, Beta Ray Bill, Dwarves, creating languages, Klingon & Pyr books" so you must be as intrigued as I am.

Meanwhile, over on the Black Gate blog, James Enge and Howard Andrew Jones (author of the forthcoming The Desert of Souls) discuss "Writing Serial Characters and the Book Deal." Their back and forth conversation is fascinating and informative.

Diving into the Wreck: An addictive blend of mystery and space adventure

Illustration by Dave Seeley
Over at SF Signal, John DeNardo reviews Kristine Kathryn Rusch's Diving into the Wreck this morning. He calls Diving, "a consistently palatable blend of mystery and space adventure, one that's filled with sense of wonder. What secrets do the ships contain? What dangers do they hold? Rusch's prose, infused with top-notch world building, makes it a pleasure to find out, with a clear and straightforward writing style that's easily absorbed. The characters are well drawn, too, each one exhibiting traits that make them unique." He further says that their is "never a dull moment" and that he is eagerly awaiting the sequel (City of Ruins, out May 2011).


John DeNardo's review is actually the second review at SF Signal. Earlier, JP Frantz called Diving into the Wreck "One of the few books in recent memory that I hated to put down and couldn't wait to pick up again."

Both John and JP will be glad to hear that Rusch has also written several short stories and novellas set in the universe of the books. The stories so far in the "Diving universe" are:

•”Diving into the Wreck,” first published in Asimov’s, December 2005. Reprinted
in Recovering Apollo 8 And Other Stories, Golden Gryphon Press, 2010.
•“The Room of Lost Souls,” first published in Asimov’s, April/May, 2008. 
Electronic edition published by WMG Publishing, 2011.
• “The Spires of Denon,” first published in Asimov’s, April/May, 2009.
Electronic version published by WMG Publishing, 2010. Reprinted in Five Short
Novels
from Five Story Publishing 2010.
• “Becoming One With The Ghosts,” first published in Asimov’s, October/November,
2010.
• “Becalmed,” to be published in Asimov’s, 2011.

You can find more information on the Diving website, www.divingintothewreck.com.